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‘Tis the season

‘Tis the season

As we welcome long summer days and social gatherings, be mindful of your alcohol consumption during the silly season (I hope I haven’t lost you already). While it’s probably a crime to write this post from the beautiful wine region of Hawkes Bay, I say this in the best interest of your health.
Our clients often ask numerous questions about all aspects relating to alcohol consumption.
  • Is alcohol healthy?
  • How much is too much?
  • What kinds of alcohol are best?
  • How to minimise the side effects of alcohol?
  • And how does alcohol consumption fit into other health goals (ie. Weight management, hormone balancing, gut health)?
 My thoughts on alcohol come down to your mindset and behaviours around drinking. Do you drink for the social aspect, the taste, the reward, to relax? Does drinking interfere with your relationships, job, sleep, motivation and do you regret drinking the following day?
Here’s some food for thought:
  • Current recommendations are to consume no more than two standard drinks per day and that must include two alcohol-free days per week.
  • If you have a family history of cancer, there is NO safe level of alcohol consumption, which is a very powerful statement to contemplate.
  • The human body cannot excrete alcohol; it has to be converted into acetaldehyde by the liver. That is what gives you a sore head the next day.
  • When we drink daily, or, for some, just regularly, the liver can be so busy dealing with alcohol as its priority, other substances that the liver has to change so they can be excreted don't get any attention and are recycled back into the body.
  • Estrogen and cholesterol are two examples. Think hormone imbalance/high cholesterol.
  • Those with gut issues. This includes individuals with IBS, Crohn’s/Colitis, reflux/GERD, chronic constipation/diarrhea, SIBO (small intestinal bowel overgrowth), food sensitivities, etc.

First, alcohol is an irritant to the gut lining, which can add fuel to a fire. Second, alcohol is a sugar/simple carb that feeds bacteria and can aggravate situations where there may already be an imbalance in gut bacteria.
With this in mind it is important to understand that consuming alcohol may be preventing you from achieving your optimal wellness and you really need to assess the impact alcohol has on you as an individual.
As we head into the silly season, clink glasses and celebrate getting through one wild year, follow these little tips to support your health:

  1. Stay hydrated. Soda water is a great mix for spirits. In addition, try having a glass of water between alcoholic drinks. Electrolytes before bed are also great.

I always joke with my clients, 'If you want to get older, go ahead and drink!'" There's no question that excessive drinking causes your body to become dehydrated. Your skin, which is the largest organ of the body, will start to show when you've been leaving your body severely dehydrated too often. Alcohol inflames the tissue, and systemic inflammation to the skin caused by alcohol creates a histamine reaction—that creates the redness, the flushing of the skin.

  1. Eat, whether it be cheese platters or a beautiful BBQ shared amongst loved ones. Eating slows the absorption of alcohol.
  1. Support your liver. Your liver is the main organ involved in processing alcohol, so supporting its function will reduce unwanted side effects. My top supplements include N-Acetyl-Cysteine, milk thistle, dandelion root, magnesium and B-vitamins.
  1. The worst thing for that hangover is paracetamol – it’s just another toxic load for the liver to excrete. Try electrolytes & B vitamins instead (not Berocca)
It’s a really unpredictable year, so please gather with your loved ones and relish in their company. Something we may have taken for granted pre lockdowns. Something that we have also learnt is our health trumps all.
With love,
Gina Urlich
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